Hardy’s bid fond farewell to RHS Chelsea

After almost three decades and an incredible 24 RHS Gold Medals, Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants are to create their largest and most stunning display at the 2020 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, in a fitting finale to mark the nursery’s retirement from the prestigious Chelsea stage.

Hardy’s walk-through exhibit is 160sq. meters which is ¾ the size of a Main Avenue Show Garden and is set to be the most dramatic display the nursery has ever created in their 28 years at the show. The Great Pavilion finale has been made possible by the support of Candide, the garden app, who are proud to be collaborating with Hardy’s and to be supporting British growers and nurseries.

The Nursery has always been a firm favourite with Chelsea visitors and they will be sadly missed, however, as Rosy Hardy points out when one door closes others inevitably open and while we may not see Rosy and Rob at RHS Chelsea after this year, they will still be attending RHS Malvern, RHS Hampton Court and many other flower shows and plant fairs, across the country in the future. They will also be continuing to grow plants for show garden designers.

Hardy’s exhibits are legendry and the 2020 finale will feature many hundreds of the nursery’s stunning collection of herbaceous perennials and shrubs. All grown in 100% peat-free media and the use of biological controls, where possible, at Hardy’s 13-acre nursery in Whitchurch, Hampshire. (pictured right Rosy and Rob).

Rosy has chosen an architectural wooden structure, the design of which hints at an upturned hull of a Viking long ship, to create a dramatic focal point for the exhibit. The structure will frame differing views of Rosy Hardy’s signature ‘right-plant-right-place’ design, which will feature separate spaces of naturalistic plant communities, reflecting a variety of garden conditions.

Hardy’s are looking to launch two new plants at the show – Salvia ‘Oriental Dove’ and Thalictrum tuberosum ‘Chantilly’.

Rosy comments that this will undoubtedly be an emotional year for the team: “We have loved our years exhibiting here at RHS Chelsea and have some incredible memories. Stepping down from exhibiting here has been a very difficult decision but we know the time is right to step back from the annual pressure we put on ourselves to create a flawless exhibit,” she said.

The team are determined to go out with a ‘floral bang’ and Rosy would like to say a big thank you to Candide who, this year, are supporting them in the creation of what promises to be a stunning exhibit which they hope will provide a fitting climax to Hardy’s Chelsea careers.

“While we won’t be exhibiting here again it’s very much ‘Au Revoir’ as we will, of course, be back to support all our fellow nurseries in the Great Pavilion, many of whom have become life-long friends,” points out Rosy. “Exhibiting here has been an absolute privilege and honour to be part of what is truly the pinnacle of horticultural excellence and has certainly put Hardy’s on the horticultural map.” (pictured left, Rosy).

Andrew Philbrick, CEO of Candide said: “We are incredibly proud to support Hardy’s exhibit at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Hardy’s is a true British grower whose environmental and ethical values we share. They have been incredibly supportive of Candide in our early germination as a community of plant lovers that share knowledge about growing the right plants, in the right place and with the proper methods. We cannot wait to experience the vision of Rosy and Rob brought to life in their display; it promises to be an immersive and spectacular exhibit.”

Rosy and Rob were recently interviewed by Tamsin Westhorpe for Candid’s ‘Fresh from the Pod‘. It’s an entertaining insight into their horticultural world and is really a delightful and informative podcast. You can link to their podcasts here.

Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, Priory Lane Nursery, Freefolk Priors, Whitchurch, Hampshire, have an excellent website with all their fabulous plants. Please visit: www.hardyplants.co.uk

Candide launched in 2018 with the bold ambition of being the most useful tool in every gardener’s pocket and is currently focused on promoting independent nurseries to their 200,000 strong community of plant enthusiasts.

Picture credits: Banner: Hardy’s 2018 Chelsea exhibit ©Reckless Gardener; Rosy and Rob ©Reckless Gardener; all other images ©Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants.